“To live cohesively is almost a fantasy and we ought to know it starts with humbling our egos.” —Nahko Bear
Following my last story of Seaview Estates, Kealoha Ward commented on Facebook that I left out an important part of the history, “Because Graham doesn’t want people to know he is often a full on hypocrite! period!”
He quoted a 2014 newspaper article that read, “A popular community in Kalapana Seaview Estates built illegal structures and cut down protected endemic trees on state land, according to a report filed earlier this month with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The June 10th report, filed by DLNR investigator John Holley, claims the Village Green Society and property manager Graham Ellis ignored a prior warning by the DLNR in 2010 and continued to develop the 59.6-acre property, located south of VGS’s Bellyacres community. Bellyacres includes the Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education, also known as SPACE, and hosts a number of outreach efforts, performances and events, including Hawaii’s Volcano Circus, HICCUP Circus, and the SPACE Farmers Market.“We found eight illegal structures on the state parcel, numerous dirt roads which wind in and out of the state parcel, illegally cut roads and walking trails, sunning platforms, a horse corral, a chicken coop and a marijuana patch,” Holley wrote. “It also appeared that some of the structures were on the boundary or not set back far enough. The horse corral was once a pristine ohia forest with large ohia trees. These logs, according to interviews, were cut down and used throughout the years as posts for most of the structures on the VGS parcel.” (unedited)
These are serious accusations and, rather than post a lengthy response, I urge anyone interested in learning more about this part of Seaview history to read the book that I published in 2018. In addition to the achievements we accomplished over 30 years at Bellyacres, I describe the grave mistakes we made and also admit that I had some serious failures as a community leader. In this book, you will learn much more about the rise and fall of our Bellyacres community development experiment and it will have more details to decide for yourselves if I was a hypocrite, as Kealoha claims, or merely a renegade activist genuinely trying to make Seaview and this world a better place in which to live.
“Juggling Fire in the Jungle” is available from Amazon as an ebook ($13.89) or as a paperback ($19.99) at https://www.amazon.com/Juggling-Fire-Jungle-Sustainable-Experiment-ebook/dp/B07L8NNW3T/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8.
Alternatively, if you donate $10 or more below with your email address, I will immediately send you the ebook version, which is 298 pages with 128 photos and links to 65 videos.
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2 thoughts on “Seaview Estates – A Disputable Deeper Dive”
And the naysayers keep hating! Some people….. well, you know.
Basically my response to your story is to the BIG story, which I have just purchased on Amazon in print, as I still relish the idea of holding a book in hand. I look forward to it . Your stories are engaging and remind me of lots of good years here on the island.
It’s so sad that you had to be ejected from here in that awful way and that some people who have added no positive notable anything to their existence on this island are allowed to thrive in their barrows. On the other hand, I guess your silver lining is being able to be with your family and rediscover the beauty of where you are from. And Thank you for sharing images of it online, I really enjoy the English countryside , hopefully Stephen and I will be able to see it for ourselves again one day.
In the meantime, may you and your beautiful family be safe and healthy and find joy in the little things, Lot’s of Love, Dawn
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Decades ago when the name ‘Bellyacres’ was coined it seemed so clever. No one had a clue that it would later become a PROPHECY.
In the 90’s Lower Puna was considered an undesireable place to live and called The Wild West by the media. The local attitude was anything goes. There are still 1,000’s of illegal structures tucked away in the Puna jungles and more are even being built today mainly because of restrictive Hawaii County Building Codes. This was inexpesive land with no utilities available. Seaview, a remote subdivision, had some telephone service but no power. Lots were under $10,000 and some even under $4,000. Many people could not afford to ‘build to code’.
Yes there were very poor decisions made at Bellyacres. However, if one were to at its overall history, as Graham has documented, there was so much good as well. Bellyacres was a community hub with (illegal) weekly entertainment, illegal Farmer’s Market, host of The Hawaii International Juggling Festival and lots of other functions. 1,000’s of Puna’s children thrived in the H.I.C.C.U.P. Circus.
Inspite of the poor decisions made, I believe that Puna is a much better place because of Belly Acres’ history.
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